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A broken literary promise

Posted by Christopher Shea  September 10, 2008 12:10 PM

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"If 'The Enchantress of Florence' doesn't win this year's Man Booker I'll curry my proof copy and eat it," proclaimed the prolific critic John Sutherland in a review of Salman Rushdie's most recent novel, last April, in the Financial Times. [subscription required]

Well. The shortlist for Britain's most prestigious literary prize was announced yesterday, Rushdie's not on it, and Sutherland wasted no time in reneging on his gustatory pledge. (He did say he "might" eat a custard pie -- a non sequitur if I've ever heard one.)

Sutherland's lack of follow-through has not gone unnoticed. Edward Champion, who blogs on cultural matters at edrants.com, promptly announced a "John Sutherland Curry Hypocrite Photoshop Contest," asking readers to email him their "graphical response to Sutherland's curry flip-flopping." Champion got things started with his own contribution, which displays a minimum of Photoshop chops but doesn't beat around the bush in demanding accountability from the cultural arbiter.

Ed Champion's take on l'affaire Sutherland
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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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